What do you need to do to switch from a bad IVF clinic when your IVF cycle fails?

Many IVF patients are extremely unhappy with the quality of care they receive during their IVF cycle because they were promised one thing when they signed up and paid the fees during the first consultation, but the reality was very different!

They never get to see the senior brand-name doctor again, either because she is too busy seeing new patients, or traveling to other centers, or giving lectures at medical conferences!

They are made to wait for hours on end routinely, and no one tells them what's happening during the cycle, so they don’t know if things are progressing as planned.

The clinic hides information, and fails to provide embryo photographs – which are key in documenting that good quality medical care was delivered.

In the past, when patients were ignorant, they kept on doing treatment cycle after treatment cycle with the same doctor, because they didn't know any better. They weren’t sure that changing doctors would improve their chances of getting pregnant, and they stuck with the same doctor because they “trusted” her – even if the trust was misplaced! However, in this day and age, when patients understand that it's important for a good doctor to provide documentation of medical care and that the only thing an IVF clinic can do is make embryos, and that all good IVF clinics routinely and proactively provide photographs of embryos to all their patients , when they realize that their doctors are hiding information from them by refusing to share embryo photos, this clearly signals to them that they are stuck in a bad IVF clinic.

However, what really surprises me is that even when they know this, they continue taking treatment in that bad clinic. This is something that makes no sense to me at all! I understand the sunk cost fallacy, and patients believe that now that they have already paid all the money in advance, they are better off continuing with the same doctor, but this is completely illogical because no bad doctor is going to magically become good, just because you are doing a 2nd and 3rd cycle with them!

In fact, not only will a bad doctor remain bad, he will continue cheating you - and will make you spend even more time money, and energy on completely useless tests and treatments because he will try to maximize his revenue, rather than try to give you a baby!

When patients are intelligent enough to realize that they are receiving bad quality treatment, why don't they have the courage to just stop treatment at that clinic and find a better clinic, this can only improve their chances of success! The truth is that once you have failed an IVF cycle, your ability to differentiate between a good clinic and a bad clinic improves dramatically, so you might as well use this knowledge in order to find a better doctor, rather than continue with someone whom you know is bad. Leopards don't change their spots, and this doctor is someone who will never respect you because he's already extracted money from you. Many of these bad clinics take treatment fees for 3 cycles in advance as a treatment package, by offering a discount if patients pay in advance! They even offer an EMI scheme to help you pay their fees – and when they are in sell mode during the first consultation, everyone is very charming, because they are doing their best to get you to sign up! This is why patients feel trapped in that particular clinic, but please, for heaven’s sake, don't continue throwing away good money after bad, just because you have paid money upfront! Not only will you continue wasting money, this doctor will think of even more creative ways of upselling you and making you waste even more money. Your chances of getting pregnant will continue to remain zero because you are in a bad clinic. It’s much better to cut your losses and accept this as a sunk cost, and then use this hard-earned expensive knowledge to find a better clinic. Even though you will end up spending more money, you will also dramatically increase your chances of having a baby, because you are now taking treatment in a good clinic. This is what your end goal should be, rather than trying to pinch pennies, because in this pursuit of trying to save money, you will end up losing your chances of having a baby!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.